6.6. Proper Hand Washing


Good handwashing techniques include washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.



Washing Hands Using Soap and Water

  • Remove rings;
  • Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap;
  • Lather well;
  • Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails;
  • Rub hands together for 15- 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice);
  • With water running, dry hands with a paper towel;
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet;
  • Dispose of paper towel.



Your Hands – Other Important Points


There are other things you can do to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Fingernails;
  • Keep nails short and clean;
  • Do not wear fake nails, gel nails or nail extensions, because they can hide harmful germs;
  • Jewelry;
  • Leave at home because harmful germs can stick to jewelry.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an excellent alternative to hand washing. However, it your hands are visibly soiled, wash with soap and water.




Washing Hands with an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer.

  • Apply ½ tsp of the sanitizer to the palm of your hand;
  • Rub hands together, cover all surfaces of your hands until they are dry;
  • Rub hands, palm to palm;
  • Rub right palm over left-back of hand with interlaced fingers, and then switch;
  • Rub palm to palm with interlaced fingers;
  • Rub backs of fingers to opposite palm with fingers interlocked;
  • In rotational motion, rub left thumb while clasping in the right palm, and then switch;
  • In a rotational backward and forwards motion, rub left palm with clasped right fingers, and then switch;
  • Grasp right wrist with the left hand; then switch.



Washing hands is the single most important measure to prevent contamination as well as the spread of infection.